Getting ready for springtime!
I always want to make sure my camera is protected against the elements (we're talking about rain here). Now I know many of you might be thinking "if it rains, I don't want to be photographing!" but there are a few cases where you might still want to be shooting:
a) For a wedding, or an event where you have to keep shooting, regardless of the weather
b) You want something creative, and let's face it, when the rain starts, most people head inside. So your photos taken in the rain will definitely stand out!
c) You're out photographing storms, rainbows, etc. and it's just hard to avoid the rain.
So there are a few things to cover regarding protecting your camera from the rain, and the first has to do with the weather sealing of your camera gear. Weather sealing isn't one of the flashiest selling features, or most exciting, but it is INCREDIBLY important to many people, and here's why. Weather sealing:
a) Allows you to keep shooting in inclement weather, and staying creative
b) Minimizes repair costs, and subsequently downtime when you'd be without your camera gear
c) Gives you peace of mind to keep on shooting
Different models of cameras have different amounts of weather sealing. For example, when photographers refer to a camera as a 'workhorse' model, they are generally referring to its stability and ruggedness, its ability to function under heavy usage. And weather sealing is a big part of that. If you'd like to know more about how weather sealing might differ between various cameras, please stop by one of our locations and talk to us about it! We're here to give you information and help you make informed decisions, so let us be that resource for you.
Protection For My Existing Camera Gear
So let's say you've already purchased some camera gear, with some degree of weather sealing, and you'd like to know how you can protect it further. There are several options available, but here are three of the most common methods:
1. Waterproof bags.
Some camera bags/cases are waterproof/weatherproof, so pay attention to that feature. Water-repellent materials can keep your camera bag from absorbing moisture, which is a great feature. Some bags, such as my ThinkTank Retrospective bags, also come with a rain cover. This rain cover goes over the entire bag, to protect it from the rain. When not in use, it folds up small enough to fit in a tiny interior pocket, but it's always available for those Virginia rain showers that pop up with no warning.
2. Camera Rain Jackets.
Rain jackets are designed to cover your camera, while you continue to shoot. Depending on the weather sealing of your camera, you may or may not want to keep shooting if the rain becomes significant, but if you DO choose to keep shooting, rain jackets are heavily recommended. Here at the Midlothian store, we carry two types of rain jackets: disposable and permanent. The disposable rain jackets come in a 2-pack, and are not intended for regular re-use, but are more compact and very inexpensive. The permanent rain jacket is designed for regular use, but does take up a bit more space in your bag, because of the thicker, more durable materials used in the jacket. Stop by any of our locations to ask questions or see the rain jackets!
3. Being Prepared
a) Keep some silica gel packets in your camera bag at all times. This helps absorb moisture, and is just a good practice to keep them in your bag. We keep plenty of extra ones here at the Midlothian store, so please ask us if you need one or two of them! And many people do not know this, but the silica gel packets are reusable (you don't need to dispose of them after they've absorbed some moisture).
b) Weather apps on your phone - stay aware of rain headed your way - apps with doppler radar tend to be my favorite, because seeing the incoming rain and its pace/direction on a map is much more meaningful to me, than just hearing "30% chance of rain."
c) Camera and Rice - sometimes the unexpected happens, and your gear gets wetter than you intended. Don't panic. Sometimes (depending on the amount of water and where it got in/on your camera), the camera just needs to naturally dry out, and everything will be okay. One thing you can do to expedite the process is to use the silicant gel packets, or a bag of rice to absorb the moisture.
We can give you more information, if you stop by one of our stores. And as always, if your camera ends up needing repair, we can assist with getting your camera repaired as well.
-Brian Clary, Store Manager, Richmond Camera Midlothian